Dilemmas of Building a Sustainable Equitable Information Resource

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"Because information plays a central role in environmental and CPR research, the quality, flow, and timeliness of of intellectual resources are crucial. The development agency community repeatedly stresses the intricate relationship between information access and economic development (UNDP, 1997; Mchombu, 1996; McConnell, 1996; Baranshamaje, 1995; Valantin, 1996). International information specialists write about the urgent need for local, appropriate information in locally-designed libraries which better serve local, indigenous communities (Alemna, 1996; Matare, 1997; Kuntze, 1996; Ifidon, 1990). Better accountability and communication of scientific information by researchers is also being voiced more frequently . In his keynote address at the 1996 IASCP conference, Marshall Murphee called for colleagues to take on the responsibility to actively share their knowledge and insights with communities and policymakers outside the academic arena 'who can use them to make a real difference' (Murphee 1996, 2). Neal Lane, Director of the National Science Foundation, urges researchers to become 'civil scientists' by reaching out to the public and engaging in 'genuine public dialogue with their local communities' (Lane 1997). "In this paper I examine some of the perplexing problems facing scholarly information as an essential and fundamental resource. My intention is to bring stronger attention to the changing nature of academic information, and the need to design new institutions for the access and distribution of environmental and CPR information. Examples are drawn from my research on academic libraries in Uganda and the U.S. While the dilemmas of managing an exponentially growing resource are on a global scale, strategies for better information management, like natural resources, must be designed at the local level."



IASC, common pool resources, digital divide, Workshop, libraries, information dissemination, research--methodology